Travel by Smartphone: The Best Apps for Your Next Vacation

Locate recommended restaurants, get audio guides at tourist sites and find the nearest washroom - downloading a few apps to your smartphone will give you all the updated information you need while traveling abroad.

The camera is the new guide

The app: Wikitude

Price: free

Operating system: iOS and Android

When traveling to a new and unknown destination, it’s usually a good idea to get advice from a local. A new app called Wikitude, which enables tourists to discover everything in their vicinity, is a good substitute. This app is among the leaders in the class of apps labeled Augmented Reality, which combine virtual elements with one’s surroundings in an interactive fashion. All one needs to do is to activate the app and point the camera in the direction of interest. This will call up all the locations worth visiting in that direction. As its name implies, the app also enables the user to receive information from Wikipedia describing the point of interest. One can also obtain information about coupons, deals and discounts in nearby stores. The app interacts with other websites such as Facebook, hotels.com, TripAdvisor and Yelp, as well as providing information according to categories such as travel & food, fun & drinks, and cool & tourism.

Google glasses on your mobile device

The app: Google Goggles

Price: free

Operating system: Android

You know those times when you see an interesting building or site while traveling and wish you knew something about it, but have no one to ask? The Google Goggles app is the perfect solution for those helpless occasions. It allows you to get the information about the location through a Google search, by taking its photo. The app also allows you to translate road signs or menu items from one language to another by taking their picture.

Finding a restaurant without losing your appetite

The app: Yelp

Price: free

Operating system: iOS and Android

Getting recommendations from friends for restaurants before going somewhere is a good idea, which helps avoiding tourist traps or paying a lot of money for a disappointing meal. If you don’t have such suggestions, a good alternative is the Yelp app. You can use it on the spur of the moment to find a restaurant, bar or café located close by. So far, this app works in European cities and in the U.S., but is not yet available in Israel. The app allows the user to sort through the listed restaurants by categories such as rating by other web users, distance from one’s present location, price range and whether the place is currently open. Yelp also provides the ratings given by other users of the app for each restaurant or café, the number of reviews written about it, whether it does deliveries and other features. To find it easily, Yelp also provides a map.

Getting to know your surroundings without moving

The app: AroundMe

Price: free

Operating systems: iOS and Android

When you get to a new place, it takes a while to find out where the nearest bank, gas station, supermarket or taxi stand is located. The AroundMe app lets you get to know your surroundings almost as well as the locals do. By identifying your location the app will find whatever suits you: bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, playgrounds, shopping centers, pharmacies, theaters, hospitals and parking spots.

After you choose a place a new page opens, providing you with a map and a phone number of the chosen site which you can add to your phone list. If you’re not interested in a search for destinations close to your current location you can change your location.

Finding a washroom without bursting

The app: SitorSquat

Price: free

Operating systems: iOS and Android

There are moments in life when all else loses meaning and all you want is the nearest bathroom. The app SitorSquat lists 100,000 bathrooms across the world. The app tells you if they are free or for pay, open or closed. Some of them list whether there is access for disabled people and whether they have dispensers for tampons or condoms, how large the stalls are and whether there is space for changing diapers. The app contains maps and reviews of public washrooms used by app users, as well as photos of the locations.

Wi-Fi finder

The app: Wi-Fi finder

Price: free

Operating systems: iOS and Android

When flying overseas, most of us wonder how to surf the web without paying a fortune. The Wi-Fi Finder app allows one to find the closest locations of free Wi-Fi connections, as well as those that charge a fee. The app also tells you where you can get updates on Facebook or through email, as well as enjoying benefits of local networks that don’t cost extra. The app works in 114 countries, and allows the user to choose categories such as airports, cafes or hotels, as well as choosing between free and non-free locations. One can also store recently found locations.

Following the movies

The app: TheMovieMap

Price: free

Operating system: iOS

Any fan of “Sex and the City” will not skip a visit to Perry Street, to see the steps on which Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw stood in countless episodes. In order not to miss taking photos at locations where films you love were shot, download TheMovieMap. You can search it by the name of the movie you want, after which a map appears with all the locations at which it was shot. Each point on the map gives information about the scenes shot there, including the name of the movie and the year it came out. Anyone not interested in a particular movie can choose the “locate near me” option to find out about movies that were filmed nearby.

What show to go to?

The app: Last.fm

Price: free

Operating system: iOS

Not every evening is planned when you go abroad. Sometimes you go to a restaurant or on a tour, while on other occasions you go see a local show or try to get seats for a show by a famous performer who happens to be in town.

The last.fm app provides Internet radio and a social network dealing with music, as well as information about live shows. In order to find out which shows are on near your location, you choose the “Events” category, which gives you a list of all upcoming events in your area, by date. You can even change the location of the search to help you plan the rest of your trip based on other performances.

Reuters
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Reuters